I love football…if there is one game I hope we play in the afterlife, it is football. In my glorified body of course I will not only be a great quarterback but a great wide receiver and running back as well…but I digress. Last week when Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos (as a Hoosier I’m going to miss him being our, the Colts, QB…but that’s a story for another time.) Tim Tebow was traded soon after to the New York Jets. This immediately sparked a fury of articles, tweets and media attention to Tebow. One joke I saw was this:
“Tim Tebow’s coming to The Big Apple. I’m not a biblical scholar, but a Christian around an apple? Sounds like trouble to me.”
“When Tim Tebow heard he was being traded he prayed “Anywhere but Cleveland.”
“I wonder how long before we start hearing “Tebow crucified by NY media” jokes?”
Okay, so that last one was mine, but in my defense I thought it was hilarious.
This has been getting up my craw lately (side note: what a funny expression where did it come from?) The media coverage of Tebow going to the Jets is too much for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Tebow hater…he’s not a franchise QB…yet, that doesn’t mean he won’t be someday, if ever…I just don’t see it. He is a great player and a nice Christian young man…but he not Jesus. Why do the media have so much trouble separating the two? Tim Tebow isn’t Jesus and Peyton Manning isn’t Barabbas. Tebow is just a man who is not ashamed to say he’s a Christian and not ashamed to act like one. Even though he was briefly connected with a speaking engagement with WOF heretic Todd Parsley, he wisely did not follow through with it, showing more discernment than Mark Driscoll appears to have for having attended Elephant Room 2.
Tim Tebow is now a back-up quarterback…on a second-rate team (the Giants are better) with a loud-mouth coach, why is he getting so much attention? There are two main reasons the first is the New York is the center of the universe, as any New Yorker would be quick to tell you. A New Yorkers map of the United States has a very large New York on the east coast and that is pretty much it except for a small peninsula to the south were old people live called Florida and a large city on the far left side of the continent called LA and there is nothing but a vast, empty expanse in-between that a New Yorker would call the mid-west. Thusly Tim Tebow has been rescued from the mid-west and brought to the center of the universe so that’s good for him, and them–they no longer have to travel to that vast, empty wasteland called the mid-west to cover him. The second reason is because they (the worldly media) are waiting for him to fail; by nicknaming him Jesus they are subtly trying to plant the idea in your mind that he represents all of Christianity and as soon as he fails they will descend on him like Jaws did on Amity Island. Don’t believe me? It’s exactly what happened to Tiger Woods when the truth of his numerous affairs came out, and Tiger isn’t even a Christian. If Tim Tebow does ever fail to live up to what the New York Medias (thus everyone who tells you what you should really believe) thinks a Christian should be then they will be aghast and begin reporting on it immediately telling us how horrible it is that he thinks/does such a thing. The problem is that the Medias idea of a Christian is nothing at all like Biblical Christianity. The medias idea of a Christian goes something like this: a person with a positive/can do attitude, that loves America, voted Democrat in the last election, is a bit narrow-minded when it comes to being pro-choice but is all about love enough to understand that homosexuals should have the right to marry, oh…and they go to church on some Sundays when they can but never get too preachy about the whole Jesus thing, as long as you believe in a love God …or Allah…or whatever-you-call-him that’s enough.
If you recall last week was also when Kirk Cameron was lambasted in the media for not being pro-gay marriage. It’s only a matter of time before Tim Tebow is put through the same ringer…and now that he’s at the center of the universe it will be easier to keep him under the microscope.
Tim Tebow is not Jesus, nor does he represent all of Christianity. He is a man, and unlike Christ, Tim was born a sinner and under the curse of sin, from what I can tell from what I have read about him and heard from him, he has repented and trusted in Christ for his salvation. He is also a football player and a good one at that. Eventually he will sin in some way…in fact I’ll guarantee you he will, whether it be in the public eye or not. The difference that the unredeemed culture will never understand is that when he does sin he will seek forgiveness from God for that sin and he will receive it. Depending on the nature of the transgression the “culture” will not be so quick to forgive, furthermore when it does happen the “culture” will be quick to dismiss any form of Christianity, not that they haven’t already, but to them it would justify it if only in their minds.
Why is it that some Christians feel like they need a celebrity to be a Christian to have any street cred? And that when there is a celebrity that is a Christian you MUST support them in everything they do? I like Tebow, as a man, he’s just not my favorite football player…I hope he does well, but I wish the same thing for Peyton Manning and I don’t know where he is a Christian or not. (Tom Brady though, I hope he breaks his leg…I kid, I kid) Christianity is legit because of Christ…not because Tim Tebow believes it…or because Kirk Cameron believes it. Christianity may never have any “street cred” and Christ told us as much when he said “they will hate you because of me.” We need to be careful that we are not falling for the worlds tricks and lifting Tim Tebow up on a pedestal. It’s level ground at the foot of the cross. When it is a man we look to for legitimacy and for affirmation and confirmation, we will be let down. But if we are looking to Christ, who is the beginning and the end, we will never be let down.
Remember too that, just as Tim Tebow is scrutinized by the world for being a Christian you are as well. You don’t have to pray in public or even announce that you are a Christian, if you simply mention that you go to church on Sunday, you are now being watched…and they are waiting for you to fail just as they are with Tebow. Sure, the easy way out would be keep quiet about it but I’m fairly certain that not saying anything is another form of denial. What we are to do is found in scripture:
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6
Let’s let our speech be Christ honoring…and full of grace. Let’s look to Christ the author and perfector of our faith and let’s fight the good fight of faith. Let’s look to Christ and not confuse Him with Tim Tebow.